Writing in a journal can be extremely therapeutic; jotting down thoughts, hopes and fears can help you solve problems, stick to a plan, and reach goals. Although journals have long been hailed as a private space in which you can divulge your deepest, darkest secrets, you may want to think about withholding criminal confessions from its pages.
If your journal is found during a legal search, it will likely be admissible as evidence in court. The search doesn’t even have to be conducted by law enforcement; if one of your family members or roommates finds something incriminating in your journal and reports it to law enforcement, your Fourth Amendment protections may fly out the window.
Invasion of privacy is a no-no, but legally obtaining a journal or diary during a search does not constitute invasion of privacy. If the contents of the journal are deemed relevant to the charges you are facing, the prosecution will likely use it against you. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with a crime.
The Search Has to Fit the Crime
Keep in mind, however, that simply being arrested doesn’t give law enforcement a green light to read your journal. If you get arrested for shoplifting, for example, it doesn’t give police the right to demand your private journal. If, however, you are arrested for a more serious crime such as arson, police will likely search your home. If that search turns up a journal, investigators are almost certain to use it against you. A Boston defense attorney can help you protect your rights if evidence was obtained during an unlawful search.
In some situations, a journal might actually help your case. If journal entries corroborate your defense that you were in New York the night of a murder, for example, it may be used as proof that you were out of state when the crime was committed. And memories fade; you may have trouble proving your innocence when relying solely on memory, but a journal can help you remember where you were, what you were doing, and when you were doing it.
Were Your Rights Violated?
If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to know your constitutional rights. In today’s world, it’s not just journal entries that can come back to haunt us. Blogs, emails, message boards, chat rooms, texts, Snap chats, and a whole slew of other electronic communications can be used against you in certain circumstances. If you believe that evidence against you was obtained in an unlawful manner, or that lawfully-obtained evidence is being used in an unlawful manner, it’s essential to know how to ask for that evidence to be removed. This is where the help of a skilled defense lawyer can make all the difference in the world. A criminal conviction can be devastating to your financial and emotional well-being for years into the future. Don’t make the mistake of hiring an inexperienced attorney.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving All of MA
If you have been charged with a crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses for more than 50 years. Everyone makes mistakes. Our attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. If you are facing charges for any type of crime, from OUI to manslaughter, we can help. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.